Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about this year’s apple crop in Maine. According to the report, experts are predicting an excellent crop this year, with good size and color. Moran said most people who pick their own apples will not see much hail damage, and added most apple farms in Maine get a significant portion of their incomes from pick-your-own and retail farm stand sales. Moran said pick-your-own has started in southern Maine with summer varieties. Activity usually picks up after Labor Day, when the main crop harvest begins the second week in September in southern Maine and continues into October in more northern areas, she said.
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The Portland Press Herald previewed the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. Several UMaine Extension experts will be on hand during self-guided tours of six backyards in Freeport and Brunswick. Visitors can learn do-it-yourself strategies for becoming a locavore, or a person who eats food locally grown and produced. Demonstrations and talk topics will include vegetable and square-foot gardening, backyard composting, greenhouses and beekeeping. Each garden session will feature food-preservation methods, including drying, hot water bath canning and making herbal vinegars and jam. Complimentary food samples will be provided.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Kennebec County will offer the Cooking for Crowds food safety training workshop twice in September on the third floor of the UMaine Extension Kennebec County office, 125 State St., Augusta.
Crystal Hamilton, nutrition and food systems professional, will instruct volunteer quantity cooks on methods for safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups of people, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. The workshops will be held 1–5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 and Tuesday, Sept. 23. The workshop meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank food safety training requirements. Guideline topics include planning and purchasing, storing food supplies, preparing food, transporting, storing and serving cooked foods, and handling leftovers.
Cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available. Register online or call 207.622.7546. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Diana Hartley at 207.622.7546 or 800.287.1481 (in Maine).
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Kennebec Journal about blueberry picking and this year’s harvest. Yarborough said the season started last week in central Maine, with reports of a good crop. Down East barrens will likely be ready for harvesting next week, he added. “The season is running a little later than usual because of the cold spring,” he said. “I think the pickings are pretty excellent.” He recommended picking berries that are fully blue. “When you pick your own, you know it’s fresh,” he said.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s free Dining with Diabetes Down East series starts Wednesday, Oct. 1 at HealthWays Regional Medical Center at Lubec. The series continues Oct. 8, 15 and 22. All sessions are from 10 a.m. to noon at the medical center, 43 South Lubec Road.
The community-based program is intended to complement medical care by teaching people with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, as well as their family members and caregivers, how to select and prepare foods that help control blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. UMaine Extension registered dietitian and nutritionist Alan Majka will make presentations, lead discussion and prepare nutritious food.
To register, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.255.3345, 800.287.1542 (in Maine) or complete a confidential online preregistration survey. When 10 preregistrations have been recorded, a series will be scheduled in the Columbia/Milbridge area. To express interest in the series being offered elsewhere in Washington County, and for more information, contact Majka at 255.3345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Town Weekly interviewed Kate McCarty, a food preservation community education assistant with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in advance of UMaine Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. McCarty will be one of several experts on hand for guided tours of backyards in Freeport and Brunswick for the event. During McCarty’s tour in Freeport, she will demonstrate how to increase self-sufficiency to meet food needs through backyard gardening techniques and food preservation methods. “I love Maine and believe it produces incredible food. I take every opportunity to support our local food producers, and it’s easy to do so with so many talented chefs, farmers, bakers, cheese makers and brewers,” McCarty said.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Program will be offered 9:30–11 a.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 16 through Nov. 4 at the UMaine Extension office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.
This program is free for income-eligible adults with dependent children. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program, which includes hands-on food preparation, budgeting information and tips on how to shop at farmers markets and grocery stores. Eat Well Program graduates save an average of $36 per month on food bills, according to UMaine Extension.
To register, call 207.781.6099 or email email@example.com. For more information or to request a disability accommodation or an interpreter, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a Cooking for Crowds workshop 12–4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at the UMaine Extension Penobscot County office, 307 Maine Ave., Bangor.
Learn up-to-date methods for safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. The workshop meets Good Shepherd Food Bank food safety training requirements. It covers the following food safety guidelines: planning and purchasing; storing food supplies; preparing food; transporting, storing and serving cooked foods; and handling leftovers.
Cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available. Register online or bring a check to class. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Viña Lindley at 207.342.5971 or 800.287.1426 (in Maine).
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Harvest for Hunger program was the focus of the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with UMaine Extension, spoke about the importance of the program that provides produce and recipes for those in need. This week, Master Gardener Volunteers at the Orono Community Garden will harvest greens for about 50 local senior citizens. Since Maine Harvest for Hunger began about 15 years ago, it has provided more than 1.6 million pounds of food for community members, according to the report.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about this year’s strawberry season. Handley said conditions have been ideal starting last fall and continuing through this week, when many farms in the Augusta area are opening for picking. He said the last two years the crop has come in early, but this year is a more normal ripening schedule. He said he expects the best strawberry crop Maine has had in three or four years.